Reset Password

Your search results
October 17, 2023

Do Travel Nurses Get to Pick Where They Go?

Travel nursing has become an increasingly popular career choice in the healthcare industry, offering nurses the opportunity to explore new places, work in diverse healthcare settings, and earn competitive wages. One common misconception about travel nursing is that nurses have no say in where they are assigned. In this blog post, we will explore the truth about whether travel nurses get to pick where they go and how the process works.

The Basics of Travel Nursing

Before delving into the topic of location selection, let’s briefly discuss the fundamentals of travel nursing. Travel nurses are registered nurses who take on short-term assignments in various healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care centers. These assignments can range from a few weeks to several months and often involve filling critical staffing needs in different regions.

Location Options

location optionsTravel nurses do have some influence over where they work, and there are several factors that contribute to this:

1. Agency Choice:

Agency choice plays a crucial role in a travel nurse’s ability to influence where they go. Travel nurse agencies serve as intermediaries that connect nurses with healthcare facilities in need of temporary staff. These agencies have established contracts with various healthcare institutions across the country, which means they have access to a wide range of job opportunities. When nurses embark on their travel nursing journey, one of the first decisions they make is selecting the agency they wish to work with.

The choice of agency is significant because it directly impacts the types of assignments, locations, and preferences a nurse can prioritize. Different agencies have varying contracts with healthcare facilities, so the options available to travel nurses can differ. When nurses align themselves with agencies that have contracts in their desired locations, they increase their chances of securing assignments in those areas. Therefore, making an informed agency choice is a vital step for travel nurses looking to shape their travel nursing experience.

Furthermore, agencies may have varying levels of support, benefits, and compensation packages, so nurses can consider these factors when making their selection. By carefully researching and choosing the right agency, travel nurses can ensure that their preferences and career goals align with the opportunities provided, ultimately leading to a more satisfying and rewarding travel nursing experience.

2. Preferences:

Preferences are a key aspect of travel nursing that allows nurses to have a say in where they go. When nurses work with travel nurse agencies, they have the opportunity to express their location preferences. This means they can request specific states, cities, or regions that they would like to explore during their travel nursing assignments. Expressing these preferences is a way for nurses to make their travel nursing experience more personalized and aligned with their desires.

However, it’s essential to recognize that the availability of assignments in preferred locations can vary significantly based on demand. Popular cities or states may have more competition for travel nursing positions, making it more challenging to secure assignments in these areas. Conversely, less sought-after locations might offer more opportunities, but it’s essential for nurses to strike a balance between their preferences and the practicality of securing assignments.

Flexibility often proves to be a valuable asset for travel nurses. While it’s possible to request specific locations, those who are open to exploring different regions and being adaptable with their preferences tend to have a broader range of opportunities. By being willing to go where the demand is, travel nurses can take advantage of the diversity of experiences that the profession offers while also increasing their chances of finding suitable assignments. Travel nursing agencies work to accommodate nurse preferences to the best of their abilities, but the availability of assignments is influenced by factors such as demand and the needs of healthcare facilities in different regions.

3. Licensing:

Licensing is a fundamental consideration for travel nurses when it comes to selecting their work locations. Each province and territory in Canada has its own distinct nursing licensure requirements, which means that travel nurses must hold a valid nursing license in the province or territory where they plan to work. This requirement can significantly influence their location options because it necessitates that nurses be properly licensed in any province or territory they wish to practice in.

To mitigate the challenges of obtaining multiple licenses for different provinces and territories, Canada has its own interprovincial licensing agreements. These agreements allow nurses who are licensed in one of the participating provinces or territories to practice in any other member province or territory without obtaining additional licenses. This means that nurses who possess a compact license can work in multiple provinces or territories without the need for additional licensing, thus expanding their location options.

The Assignment Matching Process

assignment matchingThe actual process of matching travel nurses with assignments involves several steps:

1. Application:

Travel nurses initiate this process by applying to travel nurse agencies, where they provide essential information about their qualifications, preferences, and desired start dates. In their applications, travel nurses present their professional qualifications, which include their nursing credentials, work experience, certifications, and any specialized skills they possess. This step is crucial as it allows agencies to assess the nurse’s suitability for various assignments.

Preferences are another vital component of the application. Nurses express their preferences related to assignment locations, types of facilities, shift schedules, and other factors. By specifying their preferences, they communicate their ideal working conditions and locations, guiding agencies in finding the most suitable matches.

Additionally, travel nurses include their desired start dates in their applications. These dates indicate when they are available to commence an assignment, giving agencies a timeline to work with when finding compatible opportunities.

The application stage sets the foundation for the entire assignment matching process. It allows agencies to understand the nurse’s background and career objectives, helping them identify assignments that align with the nurse’s qualifications and preferences. It’s the first step in a collaborative effort between the travel nurse and the agency to secure assignments that suit the nurse’s professional and personal needs.

2. Availability:

The availability assessment is a crucial step within the travel nursing assignment matching process. After travel nurses submit their applications, agencies meticulously review their stated availability and compare it to the assignments within their extensive contract portfolio.

During this stage, agencies scrutinize the nurse’s declared start date, end date, and any potential gaps in availability. This meticulous review ensures that there is a seamless alignment between the travel nurse’s schedule and the timing of available assignments. It’s essential to prevent any conflicts or disruptions that could arise from timing discrepancies.

Agencies maintain a wide array of contracts with diverse healthcare facilities across various regions, and this availability assessment allows them to pinpoint assignments that match the travel nurse’s timeframe. Moreover, this stage also serves as a quality control mechanism, guaranteeing that the nurse can fully commit to the assignment without any schedule-related impediments. By diligently evaluating availability, agencies can proceed confidently to the next steps of matching the travel nurse with the most suitable assignments in their portfolio.

3. Location Preferences:

The consideration of location preferences is a pivotal element in the travel nursing assignment matching process. After travel nurses have submitted their applications and agencies have reviewed their availability, the next step involves evaluating the nurse’s location preferences.

4. Assignment Offer:

The assignment offer is a significant moment in the travel nursing assignment matching process. Once travel nurses have submitted their applications, agencies have assessed their qualifications, evaluated their availability, and considered their location preferences, the next step involves extending a formal offer.

If a suitable assignment aligns with the nurse’s profile and matches their preferences, the agency will extend this offer. The offer includes essential details such as the name and location of the healthcare facility, specifics about the assignment, compensation and pay rates, and the proposed contract length. It’s a comprehensive document that outlines the terms and conditions of the proposed assignment.

For travel nurses, receiving an assignment offer is an exciting and pivotal moment. It represents the culmination of the agency’s efforts to find a suitable match and provides the nurse with a clear understanding of the upcoming opportunity. This offer allows the nurse to make an informed decision about whether to accept or decline the assignment, taking into account factors like location, compensation, and the length of the contract.

5. Acceptance:

The acceptance stage is a pivotal point in a travel nurse’s journey, where they are presented with the assignment offer and are given the choice to either accept or decline it. This is a moment of decision that holds significant weight in determining the nurse’s next career move.

When travel nurses accept an offer, they commit to working at the specified location for the agreed-upon duration, becoming an integral part of the healthcare team. If they decline the offer, they retain flexibility to pursue opportunities that better match their goals, granting them control over their career choices.


Source: Living Whole with Sarah Davis

It’s essential to note that location availability varies and can change frequently. In high-demand locations or during peak seasons, competition for assignments may be more intense. On the other hand, nurses who are flexible with their location preferences may have more opportunities to choose from. While travel nurses do have some influence over where they work, it’s important to understand that they may not always get their first choice due to factors like availability, competition, and licensure requirements. However, the flexibility and adventure that come with travel nursing can make up for these challenges. For nurses who prioritize specific locations, it may require patience and persistence to secure their ideal assignments. Ultimately, the ability to explore new places, gain diverse experiences, and enjoy competitive compensation make travel nursing an attractive career option for many healthcare professionals.

Category: Career

Leave a Reply

Custom Listing Request

If you can’t find a specific listing package that matches your property requirements, you can fill out this form, and our team will create a special listing package to accommodate your needs.

Booking Information

Let's Find you a place

Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch with our recommendations.

Contact Information
Travel Information
Become a


Open your doors to our travelling nurses and professionals, and we’ll take care of the rest.